I was 14 years old when I first met the person who would become one of my very best friends. He would see me through all the changes of my life -- growing into womanhood, struggles with my parents, so-called boyfriends, two marriages, birth of my three children, two personal tragedies, divorces, depression, joy, sorrow, defeat... to my ultimate growth and manifest of my destiny.
At fourteen, I thought I was in love with him. I thought this was going to be my boyfriend. He is going to be the star in my life, but that never happened. For several reasons, none being that we were not attracted to one another... we just knew so much about and respected each other so much that we wanted to keep our friendship sacred. Boyfriends and girlfriends come and go when you're young. If you're lucky, along the way you still remain cordial. This friend forever remained by confidant, my Lean on Me friend. He was always vigilantly on the watch for my safety, and protected my honor and dignity. He never let me forget my worth. And I was assured that he would be there for me always.
That sort of confidence in a relationship is priceless. The security to be yourself, without judgment or any dishonest gain is pure love. I had the best boyfriend-brother a girl could have.
I could tell right away that Michael Beach, prolific actor is that kind of guy. He is warm, kind, polite, and unpretentious. Well-known for his roles on stage and screen, such as ER, Third Watch, Waiting to Exhale, Lean On Me, and Soul Food (the movie), he always makes and leaves a strong impression in our hearts and minds. He was the teacher who stood up to Morgan Freeman, the cheating husband who lost everything to Angela Basset, and the husband so unappreciated by Vanessa Williams. This bright talent, who studied at Julliard, has a large repertoire. Beach describes his long career, as "work", and speaks so humbly of it. "People recognize me, (but) I am not a big star," he says. We beg to differ.
The first time I saw Michael Beach was about ten years ago. He was backstage at the Tommy Hilfiger show, and I spotted him instantly. He knew I recognized him immediately, but I was too nervous to approach him, in fear that I may come across as a groupie or an overzealous, blundering fan. So I smiled from a distance and he nodded in acknowledgment. Whoohooo! I was so excited. I cherish that moment, and every time I saw him in a movie I'd tell everyone in my school girl voice that I saw him in person at the Tommy Hilfiger show.
I never imagined that one day, this day in Miami, I would be meeting him in person again and this time, I'd be interviewing him. Again, that school girl excitement bubbled up and I ran back to my hotel room to change my attire to something more appropriate to wear to meet the man who had given me butterflies ten years ago It was ABFF, that I would have the opportunity to develop a relationship with Michael Beach, even if it was just a 30 minute conversation. I would make it the most glorious 30 minutes I ever had, and it would last me another 10 years.
Michael Beach is that great looking man that women love to watch on the big screen, even as an unsavory character. He is just delicious, and has such a way about him. Good looks are definitely not the only thing that keeps this Adonis in the business. His ability to portray diverse characters and keep the attention of viewers is definitely the key to his success.
This season, he is playing a character that you may not recognize. He still captivates audiences. Playing the Pastor of the church, his long winded prayer definitely amuses us in Sparkle. When I had the opportunity to speak to legendary casting director, Twinkie Byrd about Michael Beach, she said "I love him. Amazing. He brings so much truth to his work, it's hard to believe he is an actor." "Emotionally available, good, honest actor." Coming from Byrd, who is labeled as discovering the likes of Michael K. Williams (from HBO hit shows Boardwalk Empire and The Wire), Naturi Naughton, Columbus Short, and Laz Alonso... that's a wonderful compliment.
Beach is soft spoken, with a reserved disposition, yet he is very approachable. Beach seems to be content with the 30 plus year career path that he chose. I gather from our conversation that fame was not his primary goal when starting this journey. The father of four is extremely grounded, and his roots seem to be primarily with his family and providing for them.
When I asked him about wanting to further his career, his response completely, pleasantly shocked me. (Humility is definitely a beautiful thing.) "I want no more than the blessings that I am receiving," he says. Staying focused and wanting very much to continue to support new filmmakers, Beach teaches newcomers at his acting school and lauds the efforts of ABFF.
And for us ladies, he remains the best boyfriend we ever imagined we'd have... with the loyalty of a brother. The one with staying power.
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